ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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International Organisations and Agriculture

A Current Perspective

Food for All: International Organizations and the Transformation of Agriculture by Uma Lele, Manmohan Agarwal, Brian C Baldwin, and Sambuddha Goswami, New York: Oxford University Press, 2021; pp xxxvii + 1024, $150 (hardcover).

Global agriculture is faced with multiple challenges at present, such as the worsening crisis in hunger and food security across the deve­loping world, the lingering effects of Covid-19 pandemic, the Russia–Ukraine war, and the added difficulties of coping with the effects of climate change. There is a growing scepticism in the effectiveness of the current global order, leading to a reactionary turn in many countries. It is evident that any international organisation that attempts to play an important role in food production (and agriculture) must tread a very careful path. The book, Food for All: International Organizations and the Transformation of Agriculture, offers an appropriate revisiting of the international organisations in agriculture. Although it covers the period up to the early months of the Covid-19 pandemic, the international situation afterwards has only increased the relevance of this voluminous book.

The book by Uma Lele, Manmohan Agarwal, Brian C Baldwin, and Sambuddha Goswami is divided into two parts. After a stand-alone introduction chapter that provides an overview of the book, the first part, titled “The Overarching Environment,” contains seven chapters that present a detailed picture of how agricultural growth and various factors influencing it have changed over the years. The second part, titled “International Organizations,” is a detailed study of “the big-five” international organisations that have traditionally played an important role in global agricultural development. These are the World Bank Group (mainly the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the International Development Association), Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations (UN), the CGIAR system, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), and the World Food Programme (WFP). Internal and external reviews, oral histories of experienced functionaries, and personal communication with experts are relied upon to provide a comprehensive description of each organisation in this part. Each chapter also has an annexure on organisational history (except for IFAD). This part, and the book, concludes with a final chapter summarising the main points of the study and offering some points for future discussions.

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Updated On : 21st Aug, 2023
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